I have some questions regarding sprint training.
First some background:
I am a long-time competitive cyclist. I’ve been using TR Since 2014 and am extremely happy with it. I took up cross country mountain biking at the age of 40 (3 years ago) and realized I needed to do more (any!) strength training. I didn’t want to rehash my high school football weight routine — bench press, squat, deadlift — because it hasn’t kept my interest. In last year’s Ask a Cycling Coach podcast with Kelly Starrett, he recommended kettlebells and suggested Pavel Tsatsouline’s Strong First as a good resource. I have been working through the their Simple and Sinister plan since last October. It consists of kettlebell swings and Turkish getups. The kettlebell swing seems to be very much in line with Lee McCormack’s row/anti-row focus for mountain biking. The getup is excellent for core strength and shoulder resilience. I have been amazed at the results so far. I am about a month away from the “simple” standard - 100 one arm swings and 10 getups with a 32kg ‘bell. This year my race weight is 65kg/143lbs and I’ve only gained about 1-2 pounds body weight over last year. FTP was 305w - on par with the last 3 years. I’m stronger overall than at any other time in my life, and am almost never sore. On Coach Chad’s recommendation, I space the strength workouts as far as I can from my TR workouts and they have not adversely effected my rides.
Given the success with Simple and Sinister, I plan to move to the snatch version of the “Quick and the Dead” (Q&D) protocol when I get into next year’s race season/specialty phase. In a nutshell, Q&D involves very high power reps for very short durations and ample rest. It does so by increasing the number and size of mitochondria. Pavel calls the training “anti-glycolytic”. (Here are some articles for reference. https://www.strongfirst.com/quick-dead-vs-strong-endurance/ and https://www.strongfirst.com/understanding-why-less-is-more-with-anti-glycolytic-training/ . Strong First also has a seminar called Strong Endurance which purports to have programs aimed at endurance athletes. I have not attended, as the seminars cost around $900.) My goal would be improved high intensity power with a reduction in overall stress, especially in the specialty phase.
The anti-glycolytic training seems like it could be adapted to sprint training on a bike, rather than just strength training. A workout following the anti-glycolytic protocol might look like
2 to 5 sets of [4x(10 seconds at > 250% FTP, 20 second rest) followed by 2:20 rest]
This workout design is very specific to metabolism involving draining the CP system and maximizing AMP production to stimulate mitochondrial growth, while minimizing glycolysis. (That’s my summary. The first article linked above has more detail.) Q&D improves power, but is also supposed to increase endurance.
I remember Coach Chad discussing sprint training on the podcast (last winter?) so I looked for some sprint workouts which were similar to the one I just described. Black Giant, Cockscomb, Gardiner, Tyndall, etc are similar, but they tend more toward 15-30 second efforts with less rest and lower power.
This brings me back to the questions.
- Have you run across “anti-glycolytic” training as it pertains to endurance sports?
- If so, are they an effective addition or substitution in a well rounded training program, such as the build-base-specialty plan?
- If no to the above, can you give an explanation for the metabolic processes in the current sprint workouts - 15-30 seconds at around 130%? I’m guessing they are just an “easier” VO2max workout, like Spanish Needle.